HESPERIA Students at Hesperia schools may have to pay to ride the bus next year, but they won't know for certain or know how much until some time in 2012.


At Monday night's meeting, Hesperia Unified School District's Board of Directors put off deciding on bus fees for the 2012-13 school year until an expected state budget shake-up occurs in December.


The legislature's balanced budget relied on California seeing a faster economic recovery than what's materialized. As a result, automatic triggers in the budget agreement will likely be tripped in December, prompting the legislature to begin cutting spending. And public school districts get the bulk of their funding from the state, based on the average daily attendance at their schools.


Hesperia Unified staff had recommended busing fees for the next school year. The fees would begin at $100 per student, with discounts for families with multiple children. Not all families would pay the full fee, though: Families eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches similarly paying less for bus fees. HUSD staff estimates the fees would bring in $117,978 to the district annually.


But the board decided to postpone busing fee angst until they had a better idea of what finances for the Victor Valley's largest school district would look like after the expected budget reconfiguration.


The district did go ahead and keep planned boundary changes for three elementary schools intact, however.


In April, Eucalyptus, Hollyvale and Maple Elementary Schools had their boundaries redrawn along with Cedar Middle, Hesperia Junior, Hesperia High and Oak Hills High. The changes were meant to save the district $150,000 annually.


But an analysis by Hollyvale principal Matthew Fedders indicated the changes could end up costing the district money, instead, as the school population would drop below the district's standard staffing ratios and there would likely need to be additional teachers hired at Eucalyptus and Maple to absorb the new students each campus would receive.


In the end, board members were unswayed, with only board member Eric Swanson voting to rescind the boundary changes at the elementary schools.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com.